Serie A Relegation playoffs | Spezia vs Verona

Serie A Relegation playoffs | Spezia vs Verona

This season, Serie A introduced new rules for the championship and relegation playoffs. The final rankings for the championship and relegation are no longer determined by head-to-head results and goal difference but by a single decisive match without extra time. If the match is a draw after 90 minutes, it goes directly to a penalty shootout. The game takes place at Udinese's Dacia Arena.

Spezia's performance in the closing stages has been disappointing, with only one victory in their last 10 matches, and that victory came against AC Milan, who were distracted by the Champions League at the time. In this match, key defender Kelvin Amian and key forward Emmanuel Gyasi will both be suspended, forcing a reorganization in both attack and defense. Among them, Gyasi's absence has the biggest impact, as he has the third-highest playing time in the team. Tactically, Spezia mainly plays in a 3-5-2 formation and often uses fouling tactics to disrupt the opponent's attack. They commit an average of 13.7 fouls per game, ranking third in the league. Throughout the season, they have received 95 yellow cards and 6 red cards, the third-highest in the league. The team relies heavily on the individual abilities of striker M'Bala Nzola, who has scored 13 goals and provided 2 assists this season, ranking sixth in the top scorers' list.

Verona also employs a similar fouling-based tactical approach, committing more fouls and receiving more yellow and red cards on average compared to Spezia. They primarily play a defensive counter-attacking style, with a possession rate of only 41%, which is the lowest in the league. Verona emphasizes physical confrontation and running in team football. In terms of goals scored this season, 67.74% of them are assisted by teammates. The team's top scorer is Simone Verdi, formerly of AC Milan, with only 5 goals this season. How they solve the problem of a lack of attacking power will directly affect the outcome of this match. In the two previous encounters this season, Verona had one draw and one loss, putting them at a disadvantage.

For this kind of one-off relegation battle, the coach's ability to make on-the-spot tactical adjustments is crucial. In this aspect, Spezia has a clear advantage over Verona. Verona's coach, Marco Zaffaroni, has previously only worked in Serie B and has no experience in coaching in Serie A or in relegation battles. Spezia, despite the absence of two key players, has lowered their market expectations, which can be seen as an advantage before the match.

Taking everything into consideration, it seems that Spezia is likely to avoid defeat in this match.